Pre-season recognition spotlights UH’s Hunt
The Cougar football team does not begin the 2008 season until Aug. 30 against Southern, but senior defensive end Phillip Hunt is already making his mark.
Hunt was named a pre-season candidate for the 2008 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award on Tuesday.
In 2007, Hunt was named to the Conference USA First Team and led the conference with 10.5 sacks. He also led the Cougars with 18 tackles for loss, and his 10 pass breakups were the most of any defensive lineman in the nation.
"I think we played pretty good as a defensive unit," Hunt said.
As a senior, Hunt is focused on not only continuing to improve his skills, but also contributing to development of younger players.
"I’ve just been working on accepting the leadership roles… and making sure our young guys are coming up the right way," Hunt said at the C-USA Media Blitz on Sunday.
When former Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Kevin Sumlin was named the UH head coach last year, he also brought assistant coach Jim Jeffcoat to UH.
Jeffcoat played in the National Football League for 12 years, nine as a Dallas Cowboy and three as a Buffalo Bill. He retired from playing in 1997 but spent seven seasons coaching the Cowboys’ defensive line. For Hunt, it is Jeffcoat who may have made the biggest impact on his game so far.
"I was raised on the Cowboys. I’m from Fort Worth. Of course, I remember him (playing in the NFL)" Hunt said. "(I’ve been working on) applying all the techniques that Coach Jim tells us."
Nationwide, only 36 players are named to the list. Hunt and Marshall junior Albert McClellan are the only two representatives of C-USA. Besides Hunt, Texas senior Brian Orakpo was the only player in the state to be nominated.
The winner is determined by a vote from members of the media, head coaches, professional scouts and former winners. In addition to athletic achievments, the voting commitee takes into account "leadership abilities, contributions to school and a community and academic preparedness," according to a UH Athletics Department press release.